After 127 pages of discussion on this subject I am presuming that a lot of people did a lot more Wiki-ing like I did.
So tell me your views folks
If India were to test again - in say the next 6 months and assume that India would not be able to test again for another 10 year or more and assuming you are responsible for the scientific goals and political "success" of the test
Since no one appears interested in the few hour these q have been online I will take a shot at them myself and hopefully make the answers provocative enough to see what others feel
1) What would the goals of the tests be?
I would base the scientific goals on the premise that the maximum amount of information should be gleaned from this limited series. There is no time for radical design changes. The focus will be on data that will be useful to measure the efficiency of fission and fusion in a few designs and the collection of data to build weapons in the absence of testing.
If the politicians (whose order I take and whose funds I depend on) ask for a large thermonuclear test I would plan for one test of approx 100-200 kt. initially
The political signal that a new series of tests would send out are that India is moving contrary to the stated intent of the P5 and most non nuclear (but nuclear capable) states in the world except a few such as Pakistan. North Korea and Iran. It would also mean that India is now convinced that its deterrent is insufficient or unworkable after the last series of tests and that its statements of credibility till 2009 are suspect.This round is being done to correct that. It also means that if this round of tests is declared successful - it will still take India several years to weaponise and build a credible deterrent which India is openly admitting as being insufficient - offering a great chance for concerned powers to squeeze India militarily or economically so that as many hurdles are put in the path of developing the deterrent as possible.
There is no political signal that I can think of that will work other than open and brazen threats/tests by China or some other state being used as an excuse for testing.
2) How many tests? Spread out over how many days?
Maybe 2 series of 2-4 tests each - spaced a week apart
3) Where would you do the tests?
Ground di andar
4)if you design underground tests, would you use the knowledge you have gained from 1998 regarding how people view seismological data and crater sizes to dictate the depth at which you do your tests? If so what would you seek to achieve so that crater sizes (via satellite photos) are not used against your planned goals? And what specific measures would you use to ensure that seismological data is not used against your planned goals?
I would test them so deep that there would be no (or minimal) surface changes. I would not give a damn about seismology except to register what others say versus the readings I got. The tests are being done for MY data collection - not for "Log seismo dekh ke kya kahenge". The tests are being dome openly and not to send anyone any coded seismo messages.
5) Would you announce tests beforehand or not?
6) If you do not plan to announce, how would you ensure that preparations are kept secret?
7) In case of doubts being raised by someone or the other regarding your claims what measures would you institute beforehand to ensure that all doubts can be clarified? Where would you "draw the line" for doubters i.e which doubters would you exclude as unimportant or a security threat? What would constitute a security threat?
After having decided the team and the reviewers before hand I would not give a damn about any doubters.
8) How long would you expect the analysis of the series of tests to last until all doubts are cleared with all colors of ribbons and shades of beard expended in analysis? On what would you base this estimate of time - i.e what specific test analysis and data would take the longest time?
2-3 months - the radiochem boring would take time
9) If the tests are deemed a failure after all that what would you plan to do about it given that you have been warned beforehand that only one more series of tests is politically possible? What parameters based on initial planed goals would you use to decide honestly whether your tests were a success or a failure? What minimum goals to be met for planned tests?
Not a lot can be done. If I have been clever enough to plan my tests with fallbacks/alternatives - I would resolve t follow those routes and inform my bosses accordingly. This is a sensitive political topic. All public statements by me would be done only in consultation with my political bosses.
10) What designs and concepts would you seek to test?